Late in the Braves’ 10-0 win over the Cubs on Wednesday night was a moment Freddie Freeman won’t forget — because Anthony Rizzo may never let him.
Rizzo took the mound for the Cubs, making his second career appearance as a pitcher, in the seventh inning. He retired Johan Camargo and walked Ronald Acuna to bring up Freeman, his friend and fellow All-Star first baseman.
The pair were smiling and laughing the entire at-bat. Freeman drew a 2-0 count before Rizzo finally fired a strike. Freeman fouled off the next pitch. Then, in a swing that will haunt him forever, Freeman struck out on a 61-mph curveball. It ended Freeman’s perfect night at the plate and he finished 4-for-5.
One won’t often see Freeman smiling after a strikeout, but this was an exception.
“I had such a good night going, too,” Freeman said, grinning throughout his postgame interview. “I couldn’t stop laughing as I’m going up to the plate. It’s a recipe for disaster when you face position players, especially when it’s one of your friends, too.”
“He was staring at me when he was warming up. It was just so hard to – I don’t think I’ve gotten a hit off a position player in my career. I hate those at-bats. As you can tell, a lot of us don’t like those at-bats. Those are hard. … He’ll have that over me forever now, unfortunately. But that’s one strikeout I’m OK with. That was fun to be a part of. I wish it was the other way around and I did something cool hitting-wise. But he’ll always have that, unfortunately for me.
“I’m sure I’m getting blown up on social media and all that stuff, too. It’s all in good fun and hopefully a lot of people enjoyed that. But I didn’t.”
It was the lone blemish on Freeman’s night. His team pounded out 18 hits, continuing their offensive resurrection since a dreadful showing in Sunday’s doubleheader. Freeman, Austin Riley and Ozzie Albies flirted with the cycle. The Braves hit five homers.
Wednesday wasn’t the first time Freeman and Rizzo provided laughs. During the Braves’ win in Chicago on April 18, a mic’d up Rizzo was heard yelling, “Frederick, Freddie!” at Freeman during a chase down between second and third.
“Obviously I’ve gotten to know Anthony over the years,” Freeman said. “Our friendship has grown. We’ve gotten real close. I just wish I didn’t strike out. Oh gosh. It’s been a good week, some good laughs for a lot of people. That’s what baseball is. That’s what sports is. It’s to put a smile on people’s faces. I was on the wrong side of it tonight, but I’m OK with it. I’m sure a lot of people got some good smiles and laughs because that’s what sports is about.”
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